Leeward Islands, T&T move closer to semis with wins
Leeward Islands moved a step closer to clinching a spot in the semi-finals of the Regional Super50 with an eight-wicket win over West Indies Under-19 at North Sound on Monday. West Indies Under-19 were bowled out for 78 in 45.3 overs, 20 of which were maidens, after being sent in before Montcin Hodge and Jahmar Hamilton's unbeaten 72-run third-wicket stand clinched victory with one ball left in the 17th over.
Left-arm spinner Akeal Hosein did most of the damage with the ball for Leewards, finishing with figures of 4 for 8 in ten overs with five maidens. Fast bowler Alzarri Joseph plucked out the first two wickets, getting Shian Brathwaite and Emmanuel Stewart caught behind to make it 13 for 2. Hosein then ripped through the middle order to claim the next four wickets to make it 34 for 6. Captain Kirstan Kallicharan accounted for nearly half of West Indies Under-19's runs, scoring 33 at No. 6 before he was ninth out to left-arm spinner Jason Campbell with the score on 78 and Campbell cleaned up the tail for the last wicket with nothing added to the total.
Monday's results meant that West Indies Under-19 are the first team eliminated from semi-finals contention in either group. Leewards can clinch a semi-finals spot with a win in either of their final two group games against Trinidad & Tobago or Windward Islands. They can also qualify if Kent lose any of its final three group games against Trinidad & Tobago, Windward Islands or West Indies Under-19.
Trinidad & Tobago created an eight-point cushion over Kent for second place on the Group A table with a 32-run win over Windward Islands at Coolidge. Despite a 104-run opening stand between Evin Lewis and Kyle Hope, Windwards held T & T to 214 after sending them in, but could only manage 182 in reply.
Lewis propelled T&T early by dominating the opening stand with Hope, scoring 75 off 69 balls with 11 boundaries. Hope (29) and Nicholas Alexis (46) combined for another 75 as the top three accounted for the bulk of T&T's total. Denesh Ramdin was the only other batsman to reach double-figures, making 22 before he was dismissed by Kesrick Williams at the end of the 43rd over to make it 180 for 4. His wicket sparked a rapid collapse as T&T lost their last seven wickets for just 34 runs and they couldn't last all 50 overs, bowled out in 47.5 as Williams, Shane Shillingford and Kavem Hodge took three wickets apiece.
Man of the Match Shannon Gabriel helped pin down Windwards' reply, taking two wickets with the new ball while Rayad Emrit and Khary Pierre struck once each in the space of three balls to make it 43 for 4 in the 15th over. Sunil Ambris resuscitated the chase, continuing his superb tournament with his fifth half-century in six matches. Ambris added 58 with Hodge (27) and another 50 with captain Liam Sebastien.
Gabriel though struck a controversial blow two balls into the 41st, claiming Sebastien leg-before, playing back to a good length ball which replays showed had pitched six inches outside leg stump to the left-handed Sebastien with Gabriel bowling over the wicket. With the tail exposed, Gabriel and Ravi Rampaul brought a swift end to play. Kyle Mayers fished an edge-behind off Rampaul for the seventh wicket before a pair of catches on the boundary by Alexis put T&T one away from victory which Gabriel sealed by bowling Williams with a full and straight ball two deliveries into the 47th, leaving Ambris stranded on 75. Gabriel's 5 for 33 was his maiden five-for in List A cricket and he did it in just 50 balls delivered.
A win for Trinidad & Tobago over Kent in their next match would clinch semi-final spots for both T & T and Leewards. Windwards are still mathematically alive, but need a pair of bonus point wins over Leeward Islands and Kent in their final two games, combined with three losses by Trinidad & Tobago and another Kent loss to West Indies Under-19.